West Maple Pediatric Dentistry owns an arsenal of weapons to fight off the frown, with a filling or a crown!
Even the smallest of smiles can find themselves in big trouble! From a very early age, children are susceptible to decay, gum disease, and spacing issues that can cause a lasting and sometimes very costly headache! These problems can be caused by environmental factors, like water treatments and exposure to sugar, or factors further beyond our control like genetics.
There are several oral health issues that can be directly attributed to a child’s genetics:
- Misalignment – The same crooked smile as your mom? A chip off the old incisor like your dad? When parents show frustration at the price of realignment treatments, it’s because they know the headache of having crooked teeth themselves.
- Soft Enamel/Frequent Cavities or Easily Broken Teeth – Soft or weak teeth are handed down the same as eye color, and knowledge of how to combat it can be, too!
- Gum Disease – Not only gum disease, but all inflammatory disorders have one foot in genetics, and the other set firmly in the environment
- Bacteria – Certain bacteria being present in the mouth can be chalked up to mom and dad. These bacteria don’t directly cause cavities, but when combined with sugar become a very aggressive enemy of the teeth and gums
But just because it’s in their blood doesn’t mean it has to play a big role in their future! Treating chronic and genetic oral health issues early can be the difference between a lifetime of bloody gums and a future full of bright smiles!
When Do We Start?
It’s easy to think of intense oral health treatments as afflicting only adults, but we see children less than a year old who require extensive surgical repairs. While the names can be intimidating, West Maple works hard to keep the process and procedure comfortable for your child.
Does My Child Need a Spacer?
If your child experiences a lost or broken baby tooth, it’s imperative that they be seen right away! Your dentist can address any remaining tooth fragments that can cause pain and infection under the gums, and fit your child with a spacer to prevent tooth crowding and misalignment.
What is a Pulpotomy?
As an adult, when bacterial infection makes its way down to the pulp of your tooth, the nerve, pulp, and surrounding tissues all require removal and replacement. You may be familiar with the root canal, but we don’t perform them on children. In little ones, only the infected tissue and part of the nerve require removal. The tooth is then fitted with a crown to keep it protected until the adult tooth makes its way out.
This means that the procedure is less invasive, and less painful, than a root canal. You may wonder why such a procedure would need to be performed on a baby tooth. There are a number of reasons!
A prematurely missing tooth can cause speech issues for your child, requiring therapy to overcome
If a baby tooth is lost too early, the surrounding teeth will wander into its place. This leaves nowhere for the adult tooth to come through when it’s finally ready, leading to misalignment, crowding, and possibly cracked and painful teeth
While it’s true that a cavity in a baby tooth will fall out when the tooth does, it can wreak some real havoc in the mean time! An infection left too long can cause intense pain, difficulty eating, inflammation, and infection of the underlying teeth and tissue
Are Sealants Really Safe?
While some doctors are frustrated with parents and their seemingly endless questions about the safety and effectiveness of treatments like vaccinations, fluoride treatments, and sealants, we welcome the questions! We know how precious your child is, and that you wouldn’t hesitate to do what you feel is best. The only way to know what’s best is to do your homework!
We feel confident in the safety and efficacy of the treatments we offer our patients, but we are not their parents. If your research leads you to the conclusion that sealants are not for you, simply tell us.
We have found them to be safe, and a truly effective way to prevent decay, specifically in trouble spots like the porous surface of molars. If you opt your child out of sealants, we will spend more time working with them on proper brushing technique, rinsing to prevent food from getting lodged in the pits and crevices, and suggest close monitoring of sugar intake.
Adults will shyly admit that it’s been 3… 5… 10 years since they’ve seen their own dentist. We are constantly battling the fears harbored by patients who’ve had bad experiences, or are simply afraid of entering the shame-zone.
At West Maple, we’re ready to start your child on a lifelong journey of excellent oral health. That starts by creating a comfortable atmosphere, calming nerves, and creating a pain-free experience.
Sedation dentistry requires a bit more patience from both your dental team, and you as a parent. It takes longer, and comes with a process of helping your child feel safe before any work begins. This is worth it to us, to help foster trust and cooperation with your child. It’s important to us that we are able to counter any phobias, honor your child’s individual needs, and to help them understand that they deserve our respect and patience as well.
If you have any questions about our sedation methods, or what is expected of you and your child, visit our Sedation Dentistry Page
Thank you for trusting West Maple with your children’s sweet smiles! We are honored to have earned your trust, and look forward to creating a happy, healthy relationship with your whole family!